It is kinda funny when bike riders celebrate bridges and ramps that have curved corners. There is no other kind, surely?
Oh yes there is.
All over Australia there are examples of bridges, ramps and other structures on bike routes that are crippled by rectilinear design.
The corners are square, tight and difficult to navigate, bringing bikes into conflict with other bikes and with people on foot.
How could the architects and engineers ever have believed they were delivering facilities that were suitable?
Bike wheels are round, and when bikes go round a corner they make a curve traced by the wheel of a gently, in-leaning rider mastering the force of gravity.
Clearly, corners should be curvilinear. Then bikes can behave as bikes.
After years of fighting project teams to get this insight recognised, Bicycle Network can report that headway is being made.
This latest bridge is a rebuild over the now wider M80 freeway in Melbourne’s north, with new ramps structures on both sides.
Major Road Projects Victoria and their contractors fully embraced the reasoning behind the suggestion of curved corners on the ramps rather than the squared original structure.
Other projects from MRPV that are in the pipeline will be of a similar bent.
There is always a danger, though, that old habits may return at some point.
One factor is unthinking adherence to guideline and standards documentation, especially those related to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), that dates back to 1992, a time when some people thought (hoped) that bikes were headed to extinction.
Back then people were square, as well as the paths.
It is great to be able to report that progress is being made at last.
So kudos to the Blaxland Avenue overpass for getting the curves just right.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.